Airflo Airlite V2 Fly Rod Review

Airflo Airlite v2 rod reviewThe Airflo Airlite rod series has made a return for this season and while the original rod was a three-piece, it is now a more versatile and compact four-piece model. Now called the V2 it is available in six models: a 9ft 5wt and 8wt, 9ft 6in 7wt, 10ft in 6wt, 7wt and 8wt, and prices range from £259.99 to £279.99.

On test was the 10ft 7wt, specifically designed for stillwater work and which Airflo say is a “great all-rounder”, capable of handling everything from floating lines to fast sinkers.

This new model has a well contoured, full wells cork handle, slimmer than the original, and it feels very comfortable and also lighter in the hand.

Starting off with a 7wt floater, I lifted an initial short length of line from the water that loaded the rod relatively smoothly. As I lifted longer lengths of line the casting action became even sweeter – this blank is really happy at handling medium to long head lengths.

It is a powerful rod in that it has a fast action, but at the same time is still user-friendly being smooth  and easy to cast. It has a wickedly fast tip recovery so I could generate a lot of line speed, producing tight loops and great delivery. This really pays off when you are working with multi-droppered long leaders where full turnover is all important so the flies can start fishing straight away.

I found the rod was as proficient at fishing dries and emergers with reasonably light leaders and tippets, as it was twiddling nymphs at depth.

Moving on to a range of sunk line options from sink tips to intermediates the blank handled them in a very similar fashion to the floating line. When it came to medium sinkers (Di-3) to fast sinkers (Di-7) I did feel the rod loading and flexing a little deeper but it was still very adept at working these denser lines.

When playing fish I found the rod did flex a lot deeper than I’d thought it would considering its reasonably fast action, but this really helps in protecting tippet and leader and in turning and playing the fish with a lot more feel.

There are two rod weights either side of this 7wt: the 10ft 6wt is designed for top of the water work and lighter tippets and the 8wt, which Airflo describe as “the beast”, would suit competition anglers who like to pull sunk lines.

VERDICT:

I liked the lightweight blank, the matt finish, the self-centering reel seat and most of all the rod’s performance and the way it can handle a full range of fly-lines from floaters to fast sinkers.

Article reproduced with kind permission of Trout Fisherman Magazine.

www.troutfisherman.co.uk

Who’s the daddy? Fly-fishing crane flies for end-of-season trout

September is always a poignant time of the fly-fishing year. As the days grow noticeably shorter, the trout are the fattest and healthiest you’ll find them all season, but they often seem to be fixated on the very smallest and most technical food forms – like midges and pale wateries, presented totally drag-free, on gossamer-fine tippets.

Author, fisherman and environmentalist, Theo Pike discusses the exception to this rule and the secret weapon that shouldn’t be too far from your fly-box this September. It’s the daddy-long-legs. Here’s 6 top tips for landing yourself an end-of-season specimen.

crane fly

A crane fly, commonly known as the daddy long legs.
Image source: Shutterstock

Also known as crane flies (Tipulidae), these big insects will have spent the year as leatherjacket grubs, burrowing invisibly in the roots of the grasses and meadow flowers along our river banks. Now, as the air cools a little and turns humid after the long hot summer, they start to emerge and search for mates, to start their mostly-hidden life-cycle all over again.

For reasons best known to expert entomologists, some years are more prolific than others. Yet it’s no exaggeration to say that even in a sparse year, this can be the daddy of all seasonal hatches – at least as significant as the grannom or mayfly for the observant fly-fisher.

With cigar-shaped bodies, rambling legs that stick out in all directions, and wings that don’t seem nearly big enough to keep them airborne, daddy-long-legs look like Heath Robinson contraptions that fly badly, when they fly at all. The slightest puff of wind is usually enough to dump a few of them onto the nearest body of water, where they’ll struggle haplessly in the surface film, attracting attention from fish for yards around.

There’s no delicate sipping when these big mouthfuls are splashing down: trout and chub in particular will hit drowning daddies with real intent, sometimes even leaping out of the water, flattening them with a belly-flop, and circling back again to mop up the doomed insects.

If you think this sounds like some of the least technical fishing of the year, you may be right. But there are still a few useful things to remember if you really want to make the most of the early-autumn daddy-long-legs bonanza…

1 – Beef up your tackle

Daddy-feeding fish don’t tend to be too tippet shy, and the takes can be vicious, so this isn’t the time to take your tippet diameter much below 5lbs. Stiffer monofilament will help you avoid corkscrewed tippet when you’re turning over big, air-resistant flies into a headwind, and you may find a slightly heavier rod helpful, too.

2 – Match the hatch

daddy flies

Daddy long legs flies
Image source: Fishtec

Entomologists say there are around 300 species of crane flies in the UK, and while it’s hardly worth lugging around enough flies to match all of these, there are definitely times when the fish will respond better to one pattern than another. Carry a good selection wherever you’re fishing at this time of year, and stay alert for opportunities to try the nearest possible imitation.

3 – Chop and change

box of daddy long legs lures

A selection box of lures for variety
Featured product: Fulling Mill Daddies at Fishtec

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to fish when the weather is perfect, so having a tactical selection of patterns in your box will let you pick the best option for the conditions you’re facing. For example, a fully-hackled fly flutters lightly over a wave, while choosing a low-riding pattern, with hackles clipped off the underside, will help your imitation sit enticingly low in a flat calm.

4 – Give it a twitch

After ditching in the drink, most daddies will fuss and struggle as though they’re trying to signal for help. Follow their lead by adding a little twitch to your presentation now and again, instead of focusing on a perfect dead drift, or just letting the fly float static. If the fish you’re targeting hasn’t been convinced so far, this may help to seal the deal.

5 – Go trophy hunting

The crane fly fall will often get the biggest fish in the river looking up for the first time since the mayfly hatch, so now’s your opportunity to target the really big beasts. Don’t be afraid to use the heft of these flies (and of course your heavier tippet) to fire them into places you’d normally assume are far too tight. After all, this is where the trophy trout, chub and even carp will be lurking.

6 – Don’t strike too soon

As mentioned above, some predators will deliberately swamp a struggling daddy, then come back and take it confidently under the surface. If you don’t feel the fish, try to ignore the impulse to pick up for another cast – just leave your fly in place. It sounds counterintuitive, but it often works.

large trout

September is the ideal time to land a large trophy trout
Image source: Shutterstock

Like Kieron in this article on how to fish daddy-long-legs, I do tie most of my own flies, but I tend to make an exception for daddy-long-legs and mayflies.

These are two hatches when having a flexible choice of different patterns is more important than having a whole row of clones in your fly-box, and it’s fun to let the designers show their paces with all the latest innovations. Grab yourself a generous handful of daddies from your favourite supplier – Fishtec stocks Fulling Mill, Iain Barr and Caledonia – and get out there to make the most of this end-of-season bonanza!

author profile

Theo Pike is a freelance environmental, fishing and marketing writer. He’s also Chair of Trustees of the South East, and founding editor of urbantrout.net, a website and eco-brand dedicated to the urban fly fishing and river restoration movements. His first book, Trout in Dirty Places, was published by Merlin Unwin Books in 2012, and his new Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing appeared in 2014.

Hodgman Wading Boot Review

Wading boots are a vital bit of gear for any river angler – get the wrong wading boots and you can easily waste your money!

In this long term review, Fishtec marketing director Tim Hughes sheds light on the new Hodgman Vion H-Lock wading boots after three months of hard use.

With nearly 100 salmon fishing days each year, a decent wading boot is an essential piece of fishing tackle for me, with reliability and comfort being crucial. I have tried numerous brands on the market over the years with mixed results – some have been brilliant and others have simply not made the cut!

Hodgman Vion Wading boots

Hodgman Vion Wading boots

Without exaggeration the rivers I fish in Mid Wales have some of the worst wading conditions known to man. Anyone who has fished the Usk or Upper Wye will be familiar with slippery bedrock gutters, lethal sharp rocks, glass smooth boulders and steep, obstacle ridden banks. So any wading boot that isn’t built to take sustained, serious fishing pressure is not going to last long with me.

I had been on the look out for a fresh set of boots for the start of my season, so naturally seeing US giant Hodgman enter the UK scene I became curious about their extensive range of premium wading gear.

Hodgman have been established in America since 1838 and are very well regarded on the other side of the pond. They are I believe the oldest established manufacturer of waders and boots in the world, but have only recently become available to British anglers. After speaking to the guys at Hodgman UK, I was further assured of the quality and pedigree of their products, so I decided to give a set of their boots a shot for my 2017 fishing campaign.

I opted for a pair of their flagship Vion ‘H-Lock’ interchangeable sole wading boots – some info on these on the video below.

Once they arrived my first impressions of the Hodgman Vion H-Lock were of a sturdy, no-nonsense boot with quality uppers and eyelets. They felt nice and solid but were also lightweight. These boots came supplied with two interchangeable soles – one felt, the other a sticky rubber known as ‘Wadetech’. I also added a studded rubber sole variant that is available as an accessory.

The way to change these soles is quite different to others on the market – they swivel on a central pivot, meaning the soles are quick and easy to take off. With this design there is no danger of losing the sole or of it coming adrift whilst you are fishing. They lock extremely securely allowing you to fish with confidence.

On the river I immediately began to appreciate the comfortable feel of them. The boots are neoprene lined, so are very pleasant to walk distances in, plus easy to slip on and off. They are also contoured nicely allowing for a comfortable fit around the foot. Speaking of fit, unlike most other brands there is no need to ‘size up’ with Hodgman boots. Simply order your regular shoe size and you are good to go – with plenty of room for wader stocking feet.

I found the rubber studded sole to be excellent on the treacherous bedrock sheets that the River Wye is infamous for. Grippy both in the river and on the bank, the ankle support was also first class.

One thing I particularity loved was the water draining function of the sole. The motion of your walking forces the water out through specially engineered channels beneath the sole, therefore reducing weight from excess water retention very quickly.

In the three months to date of hard fishing spent in the Vion’s, I have yet to see any signs of  wear. For me three months is probably equivalent to a few seasons worth of a ‘regular’ anglers fishing – for example the other day I went fishing at 4.00 am before work, then straight after work the same day until 9.30pm, followed up with a 12 hour full shift on the weekend. If the water is on i fish -simple as that!

A River Wye silver salmon

A River Wye silver salmon – good boots allow you to concentrate on fishing!

To conclude, these are some serious wading boots, without doubt the best boots I’ve ever used – and I’ve used a lot ! As a tackle essential these are worth every penny, especially if you are a hardcore fly fisher that spends every free minute on the water. I have a feeling these boots will be in service for a good few years to come, so I will keep you updated on how long they actually last me.

A full range of Hodgman Fly Fishing waders, boots and outwear are available here.

Airflo Stormbox Competition Tackle Boxes

The Stormbox by Airflo is the ultimate fly and tackle storage system for the boat angler.

Fully waterproof, durable and shock resistant the Stormboxes have rapidly become a firm favourite of boat based competition and pleasure anglers throughout the UK and Ireland.

A large central compartment swallows up multiple fly lines, spools, fly boxes and leader material with ease, whilst the strong bash resistant ABS plastic construction will keep your gear safe and sound in the boat, car and on the jetty whatever the conditions.

The Airflo Stormbox is available in two sizes:

Large (55.5 x 42.8 x 21.1 cm)
XL (59.4 x 47.3 x 21.1 cm)

The larger XL model has wheels and an extendable handle.

Many Stormbox owners are turning to the services of Andrew Barrowman, who is providing high quality custom ‘Foamtex’ interiors built to whatever specification the customer requires. Some examples below show Andrew’s excellent handiwork.

Airflo Storm boxes with custom inserts

Airflo Storm boxes with custom inserts.

Customise your Airflo Stormbox interior!

Customise your Airflo Stormbox interior!

For more details on obtaining a customised interior for you Airflo Stormbox, visit Andew’s new Foamtex Facebook page here

TF Gear Carp Fishing Tackle Videos – 2017

In this blog post we take a look at some new carp fishing tackle videos produced by Total Fishing Gear in conjunction with Total Carp Magazine.

Each product is reviewed by renowned UK carp expert Dave Lane, who provides valuable insights into some essential new fishing kit for 2017. Watch on to find out more!

Flat Out Superking Bedchair – Designed to give pressure relief, comfort and support exactly where your body needs it- making your carp fishing experiences a joyous one.

3 in 1 Supersize Frying Pan – This superb non-stick frying pan allows you to cook 3 different foods at the same time so now there is no need to take numerous pans with the added bonus that you save on the washing up!

Hardcore waders – Made from the most advanced durable Heavy Duty PVC on the market with double stitching and welding on all seams plus extra layer reinforcement on the knees make these waders the toughest we’ve seen while retaining a supple flexible feel.

Response bite alarms – Loaded with premium features such as sensitivity control, high visibility night lights, silent stealth mode, vibrate and introducing a revolutionary built in torch feature on the receiver, the Response alarms have now taken bite indication to the next level.

Toastie makers – The quick and easy way to make tasty toasties and hot snacks. Super size capacity – perfect for deepfill toasties, fry ups, steaks, burgers, sausages, pies, chips, pizzas, the list is endless!

Trukka barrow – An unprecedented new standard in fishing gear transportation. A heavy duty load bearing frame complete with adjustable sides allow you to carry a mountain of equipment with ease.

Top Ten New Fly Fishing Products

fly fishing tackle

New tackle to get your season off to a flying start

Which new fly-fishing products are turning heads and winning rave reviews as we enter the new 2017 season? Here is our quick guide to some of the best tackle out this year.

Reel value from Vision

fly reel

The Vision Deep Fly Reel

While it is easy to be wooed by the bling on show in any selection of modern fly fishing reels, those that give top performance and good looks at well under £100 are a rarer beast. Which is why we think the new Vision Deep Fly Reel is sure to be a big hit with anglers across the UK. Strong, light and with a high capacity, they also feature quick release spool system and a smooth, reliable drag. Find them in sizes from 5/6 to 11/12 at Fishtec from just £69.99.

Slick fly fishing accessories

scissors

Dr Slick XBC Accessories

Blending style with top quality, the new Dr Slick XBC Accessories are sure to win fans and wow those already in the know. When it comes to trimming knots, unhooking fish or debarbing flies, these new tools really excel, while the funky designs are sure to earn jealous glances from your pals! Get some on your zinger for the new season from £5.99 up.

Sure to polarize opinion!

sunglasses

Lightweight glasses with polycarbonate lenses

Fish spotting specs come in various guises these days, but few combine top quality polarization with style quite like this. Funky yet functional, these Tetra White Frame Polarising Glasses from Bolle (£99.99) would make a great buy, or indeed an eye-catching gift, for any style-conscious angler.

Waders to combat wear and tear

waders

Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders

Are you one of those anglers who likes tackling the rough stuff? For anyone who puts their waders through a real test every season, the rigors of rocks and undergrowth can take their toll. Hence we like the approach of Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders. Double stitched seams, reinforced knees and other features make these a tougher breed for the angler who doesn’t do manicured fishing. Taller folks will be pleased to see that they go up to a size 13, while the price is also very reasonable at just £79.99 to Fishtec customers.

Fly lines that deliver…

flyline

Greys Platinum Stealth Flyline

It’s always good policy to renew your fly lines every so often. Should you be looking for brilliant performance without breaking the bank, however, the new Greys Platinum Stealth Fly Lines are worth every penny. Already Trout Fisherman award-winners in 2017, they are super slick and perfectly tapered for easy casting, while the dual-colour finish is ideal to avoid spooking fish. Sure to be one of our best sellers this year, find them at Fishtec for the excellent price of £34.99.

Top notch wading jackets from Vision

Lohi jacket

Vision Lohi Jackets

For anglers who often get immersed in their local water, a quality waterproof jacket is a must. But with high street brands seldom cutting it for this type of use, perhaps it’s time to treat yourself to something built-for-purpose? The new Vision Lohi Jackets (£219.99) not only look the part but perform beautifully. Totally waterproof and breathable, they’ll keep you dry and comfortable for many seasons to come. Great quality and durability, in sizes M-XXL.

Take wading and walking in your stride

wading boots

Scierra X-Force Wading Boots

If you’re someone who often walks a fair distance in a day, typical wading boots are not always ideal. With trekking style soles that will tackle rough terrain on land as well as the river itself, the Scierra X-Force Wading Boots (from £169.99) look like winners. Reinforced toes and soles, along with superb ankle support, further add to durability too.

Fly fishing wear with classic appeal

jacket

Snowbee’s popular jacket

Ok, so it would be a little disingenuous of us to call Snowbee Prestige clothing completely “new” after several years of popularity. But you would struggle to fault the current range in terms of sheer comfort and practicality. Innovative, breathable designs are matched with traditional good looks and sound value throughout, from jackets to bibs and braces.

Get a “Grippa” on your flies

fly box

Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box

We all love a good-looking fly box, but the new Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box (£14.99) is one that stands out for other reasons too. Durable, shatterproof and water resistant, its silicone fly slots will never wear out, while it is also slim enough to be stowed away with ease.

All Weather Winners from Simms

bib and brace

Simms bib and brace

If you’re the type of angler who needs to feel comfortable in all weathers, all year round, the new Challenger Clothing from Simms sets an uncompromising standard in 2017. Available in both subtle and higher-vis colours, the new Challenger Jacket (£249.00) and Bib and Brace (£199.00) offer unrivalled quality to tackle the very worst of the British climate. Thoughtful features such as fleece-lined pockets and draw cord adjustments add an unrivalled level of comfort to keep you focused on the fishing rather than the weather.

Catch the latest products and best tackle deals from Fishtec…

Did we miss your favourite new product? Or perhaps you were looking for something completely different? Fishtec stock a huge range of the best fly fishing gear, from great value starter outfits to top of the range rods and tackle and we always welcome your product reviews and queries of all kinds.

Keep an eye on the Fishtec Facebook Page for our latest fly fishing news and current tackle deals!

“Marmite” Fishing Tackle

marmite

Dividing opinion. What’s your “marmite” fishing tackle?
Image source: David Hunt

For every angler who loves having the latest kit, another will be busy shaking their head at it. Fishing tackle innovations are seldom embraced equally by everyone in the angling community. Dominic Garnett takes us on a quick tour of the fishing gear that divides opinion  – the “Marmite” of the fishing tackle world.

The Bite Alarm

Bite-alarm

Bite alarms – Love or hate?

Many years after their widespread adoption by anglers, these little boxes of joy (or disturbance) continue to provoke debate.

It was none other than the great Richard Walker who invented the electronic bite alarm. The idea wasn’t to promote “lazy” fishing though, but to detect runs at night. 

Have we become hooked on them? Many specimen hunters wouldn’t be without theirs and sadly, not everyone seems to know where the volume control is.

Centrepin Reels

centrepin-reel

Is old-school best or should the centrepin reel be consigned to history?

Old-school romantics love them and in the hands of a master, a centrepin reel can be poetry in motion. But for the less skilled, not so silky smooth; we’re talking long trotting or a tangle every five minutes!

Fish Finders

Fish-finder

Fish finder – the ultimate cheat?

Struggling to get a bite? Worse, have you no idea where the fish even are? A fish finder could be the answer. On large waters, a lot of us use them to help us identify features we can’t otherwise see.

But more and more anglers are also using fish finders on rivers and lakes where they’re much quicker than traditional methods for plumbing the depth. But is using a fish finder to locate your prey a clever tactic or does it show a lack of watercraft? After all, just because you know where the fish are, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to persuade them to bite.

The Bait Boat

Bait-boat

Are you a bait boater or do bait boats give you a sinking feeling?

Faced with long distances and awkward casts, some clever so-and-so wondered if he might use a radio-controlled boat to place his bait and rigs to the exact inch. A few years later we have high-tech devices and a debate that just won’t lie down. Are bait boats genius or cheating?

Dropshot Gear

Drop-shot-gear

Drop shot gear – best thing since sliced bread or pastime for the brain dead?

Who saw the whole dropshot trend coming? In the past three years or so it’s become all the rage. But are you a convert or just plain confused? The technique does take some getting used to, that’s for sure. It takes a lot more patience than standard lure fishing, nor is acute concentration and vertical jigging for small perch everyone’s cup of tea.

Underwater Fishing Cameras

Fishing-camera

Fishing cameras: innovation or intrusion?

What exactly goes on under the water while you fish? Not content with centuries of crackpot theories, some clever clogs decided to cast out a little film camera to take away the guesswork.

Unlike many of angling’s more high-tech trends, the British did it first with the FishSpy camera, a product purely designed for carp anglers. But is this understanding the water better, or killing any remaining mystery?  

Split Cane Rods

Split-cane-rod

Split cane: old-world charm or obsolete?

“Simply wonderful,” the traditional angler sighs. “Look at that old-world craftsmanship; lovely to play a fish on too.” But split cane rods are also pretty heavy and slow-actioned.

Where you stand on vintage tackle is a very personal thing and while split cane certainly has its romance, would you really favour it over carbon? Is it a joy to use, or more akin to replacing your new car with a horse and cart?

Further Information

What’s your take on “Marmite” tackle? Tell us what fishing equipment you love or loath via Twitter and use #MarmiteTackle

For more talking points on a weekly basis, check out Dominic Garnett’s column “The Far Bank” in the Angling Times, or discover his books and regular blog at www.dgfishing.co.uk

Waders – A Carp Fishing Essential

My friend Paul Forward and I have a little saying ‘sensible use of waders’ and it always brings a smile as it was a caption used on a photograph in a magazine photograph of him many years ago, and Paul practically lives in waders.

I too am a great advocate of rubber leg wear and I have many sets of various types. In fact, I currently have a set of wellington type boots, a pair of thigh waders and some of the new TF Gear Hardcore chest waders all in a pile in the back of my truck and I rarely leave home without all three.

Waders are a carp fishing essentail

Waders are a carp fishing essential.

Our sport is a wet one but there is really no need to suffer it by getting ourselves wet and many opportunities and circumstances will require that we get into the water to one degree or another.

Using waders to hand place baits into the margins is a method that has caught me countless fish over the years, scuffing my feet along the bottom to locate cleaned off gravel spots or little depressions in the lake bed.

Baiting up by hand in the margins

Baiting up by hand in the margins.

There have also been many occasions where I could not actually fish the areas I wanted without wading out with long bank sticks and having the rods out in the lake due to the lack of actual swims.

The safe retaining of fish is another area where chest waders are a ‘must have’ item as you often cannot just sack a fish in a shallow margin and a bit of depth needs to be found slightly further out into the lake.

Even on the bank a set of chest waders can be a huge advantage, particularly when dealing with a lively fish in cold and wet conditions for photography. A decent, flexible set of chest waders perform like a set of waterproofs and keep all your clothes nice and dry and warm, allowing you to return to bed in comfort rather than dripping wet.

I mentioned ‘flexible’ because there are, obviously, different types and grades of rubber used in waders and it is important to choose correctly.

TF Gear Hardcore waders are flexible and comfortable to wear

TF Gear Hardcore waders are flexible and comfortable to wear.

A thick or stiff set of waders will be uncomfortable and eventually crack whereas a nice soft and flexible pair like the premium TF Gear Hardcore waders, will be far more comfortable and allow you to wear them for longer periods of time.

The New Inflatable TF Gear Airflo Bivvy!!

A new product has literally just hit the shelves – the radical new TF Gear Airflo Bivvy. We feel this bivvy will revolutionise the carp fishing bivvy world, and become a best seller as a result.

The new inflatable bivvy from TF Gear!!!

The new inflatable bivvy from TF Gear!!!

What’s it about?

It’s a pump up bivvy that uses inflatable ‘air poles’ instead of conventional polesIt takes about a minute to inflate and even comes supplied with the pump. Other than the ‘pram’ hood peak support no poles are needed whatsoever. This means the bivvy is super lightweight to transport plus extremely easy and quick to erect. It also packs down into a very small bag compared to ‘normal’ bivvies – great if space is limited in your car. Quality T pegs, a nice carry bag and an integrated groundsheet complete a really decent package.

In the video below, Allan Crawford-Plane demonstrates pumping up the Airflo bivvy:

As soon as they arrived, we simply had to test these bivvies outside the Fishtec shop. Inflation of the bivvy took no time at all – definitely within the minute mark. We found they were rock solid and very stable with no danger of the bivvy bowing inwards in high wind.

The material of this single skin bivvy is very tough and looks highly puncture resistant.The built in premium groundsheet is heavy duty and easy to clean. There are several door configurations, including a mozzie net and a separate clear window that you can velcro into place if needed. To pack down it was simply a case of loosening one valve and rolling it back up – so easy and quick for the end of your session.

There are two sizes available and both are very generous in terms of interior space and specification – size chart below.

TF Gear Airflow Bivvy dimensions

TF Gear Airflow Bivvy dimensions.

How much?

At just £279.99 for the one man, and £329.99 for the two man they represent superb value for money. We feel these are going to be a huge seller for 2017 –  NOW IN STOCK!!!

For full details of the TF Gear Airflow bivvy click here.

Which Strike Indicator?

Love them or loathe them, the use of a strike indicator or bung can make a huge difference to your fly fishing results whether it is on the river or lake.

The question is which one do you use? The answer is not that clear cut – each has it’s own advantages. In this blog we review eight popular fly fishing indicators and examine their pro’s and con’s.

A selection of fly fishing strike indicators

A selection of fly fishing strike indicators.

Fulling Mill Fish Pimps – £3.99 per pack of 6.

Made of hard foam in two sizes, the aerodynamically shaped Fish Pimps by Fulling Mill have been around for donkeys years – the reason why? They are very effective and represent good value.

Fulling Mill fish pimps - Large size

Fulling Mill fish pimps – Large size.

Pro’s – The large size casts well on stillwater; it floats high and is easy to see. This makes them perfect for fishing nymphs and buzzers at a decent range. Can also support fairly heavy river nymphs. The Mini pimp size is ideal for small streams and brooks where delicate presentation is needed and a small single fly used. Re-usable and supplied in a handy tube.

Con’s – Can potentially fly off the leader if not attached correctly (always ensure you twist each opposing end of the rubber tube in the opposite direction). For river angling with ultra heavy bugs they may not be buoyant enough to support real bottom dredgers.

Air-Lock Strike indicators – £7.49 per pack of 3.

Originally from the USA, these indicators were primary used by Steellheaders for presenting the ballast heavy flies needed in strong and deep river flows.

The Airlock indicator

The Airlock indicator.

Pro’s – Best attachment system on market, a rubber grommet and screw thread set-up means you can attach and slide up leader with ease. No chance of them coming off or shifting position. The buoyancy is unrivaled, allowing you support to fish a full team of heavy river bugs, making these perfect for winter grayling. Also ideal for stillwater trout fisheries with teams of buzzers.

Con’s – Not that great for extreme distance casting. Suits short to medium range best. Size and shape means it can splashes fairly heavily so best suited to deeper, more turbulent water if using on the river for trout.

Fulling Mill Strike yarn indicator
– £2.99 per pack of 6.

These indicators are made of pre-treated siliconised yarn (poly yarn), with black, white and orange supplied in the packet to suit all light conditions. Fitted with a rubber O ring, these can be easily attached by pushing a loop of your leader through the O ring, and then back over itself. You can then slide up and down the leader.

Fulling Mill yarn indicators

Fulling Mill yarn indicators.

Pro’s – Buoyant out of packet, the shuttlecock design makes for good casting. These are pretty decent for presentation as they do not land with a big splash. Ideal for fishing buzzer and nymphs on stillwater, as well as river trout flies.

Con’s – After a while, can need fishing floatant application to keep it afloat. Not really one not for supporting heavily weighted flies or heavy river bugs

New Zealand strike indicator – £6.99 Tool with 2 wool colours and sleeve.

This type of indicator is favoured by anglers looking to present in as natural and delicate fashion as possible – perfect for spooky fish. The NZ indicator system is supplied with a needle tool, some tubing and two samples of a naturally buoyant sheep’s wool. Additional colours and more tubing need to be purchased separately.

New Zealand strike indicator

New Zealand strike indicator.

Pro’s – Lands like thistledown, unobtrusive. Perfect for presenting small nymphs in skinny water on the river. Does not impede casting in any way, so distance and turnover are very good. The slimline tubing attachment is much less bulky than an O ring system.

Con’s – Can be fiddly to apply whilst on the water, especially in cold and windy conditions. Needs treatment with floatant. Will not support heavier flies. Extras mount up price and tool easy to loose.

Loon strike out indicator yarn – £3.50 per dispenser.

This yarn is popular in the USA with river anglers. Pull off the required length, and attach to your leader with a small rubber band (not supplied) or simply tie the leader round it.

Loon strike out yarn

Loon strike out yarn.

Pro’s – Good value for the amount of yarn supplied. Delicate presentation. Best fished as part of a river nymph set up.

Con’s – Could do with being easier to attach. Realistically, you wont end up re-using the yarn so can end up throwing a fair amount of it away after use.

Self adhesive foam indicators – £3.95 for a sheet of 30.

This type of bung is one of the first developed. Made of buoyant plasterzote foam, they were incredibly popular a decade or two ago.

Adhesive foam indicators

Adhesive foam indicators.

Pro’s – A firm favourite. Quick and easy to attach, simply fold over and squeeze onto the line. They are also inexpensive. Stick firmly to leader so no danger of them flying off with a vigorous cast. Suited to river fishing or stillwater with smaller patterns at any range.

Con’s – Cannot be re-used or moved up the leader without the indicator loosing stickiness. Not the best for large, heavy flies.

Airflo Float-Do
– £2.99 per tub.

A pliable, moldable brightly coloured floating putty, Float-Do is a little used indicator material but can be very effective. Float-Do is soft in the tub but hardens once in contact with water. Also available as Light-Do – the only strike indicator that glows in the dark!

Airflo Float-Do

Airflo Float-Do.

Pro’s – Highly visible, It can fish any weight of fly – simply add more Float-Do do until your heavy flies are supported or use tiny blobs along the leader for fishing a micro nymph on a French leader in skinny water. Re-usable and simplicity itself to apply.

Con’s – Can fly off the leader on long high energy distance casts. Best for river or marginal stillwater fishery work.

Use a Bung Fly – £1.40 Each

An orange bung fly

An orange bung fly.

Pro’s – Good visibility. Huge benefit of the ability to catch a fish (we have all had times when a stupid fish tries to eat your indicator!! Good for long range casting.

Con’s – Cannot easily slide up and down leader for a quick depth change. Can become water logged. Will not be buoyant enough for super-heavy patterns.